UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that Thai officials have conducted an autopsy on Carradine and ” cited ‘unusual circumstances’ in his death.” An additional report states that authorities are leaning towards a verdict of “accidental suffication.”
It is being reported that David Carradine, the martial arts master who rose to fame in the 1960s television series Kung Fu, has been found dead in a hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand. He was 72.
The news broke from Thailand’s English-language The Nation, which stated that the actor had committed suicide by hanging. He had been in the country working on a new film titled Stretch.
Best known to movie audiences for his being the titular object of Uma Thurman’s revenge in Quentin Tarantino’s two-part Kill Bill (2003, 2004), Carradine first rose to stardom as the Shaolin monk on a quest through the old American West on the television series Kung Fu. Before taking the role of Kwai Chang Caine, Carradine had no interest in martial arts, though he quickly became an avid advocate. He would go on to produce several and appear in several exercise videos featuring Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
The mid-1970s probably provided Carradine with his most prolific film work. He starred as tough race car drivers in Deathrace (1975) and Cannonball (1976). He played multiple roles in 1978’s Circle Of Iron, a film originally being developed by Carradine’s friend Bruce Lee. The wooden flute that Carradine plays in this film is the same one he would play in Kill Bill, Vol. 2.
Other, non-martial arts/action roles include a turn in Martin Scorsese’s Boxcar Bertha (1972), playing Woody Guthrie in the 1976 bio-pic Bound For Glory and an appearance in Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg (1977). He co-starred with half-brothers Keith and Robert Carradine in the 1980 western The Long Riders.
Most recently he played an elderly, perverted Chinese crime boss in this past spring’s Crank: High Voltage. According to the IMDB, he still has several films in post-production.